Anaxagoras wrote:I'm sure Dr. X knows the literal meaning of the word "karate", but for anyone else who might be curious, it means "empty hand". [Sic--Ed.]
Actually, that is not precisely correct. The term originally referred to "hand" in Okinawa, and with influence from China, became known "Chinese Hand" or 唐手. This is pronounced "karate" and with the rise of Japanese militarism, the Japanese imposed the use of the kanji
for "empty" to give 空手 which Americans years later changed to Krotty [Stop that.--Ed.].
These are seen as very separate systems now--nothing like politics and pride to ruin a good thing--but they were always part of a larger idea of offense and defense. This continues with practitioners who train in a number of other systems. A lot of Okinawan practitioners practice traditional weapons. The separation is a bit artificial and a modern thing particularly given that people do not walk around with bos and sais much! A well-known iai-jutsu
--sword-draw-cut at real speed--teacher long ago joked that students needed to disabuse themselves from believing they could learn to fight with an umbrella! As another critic put it arguing online with a "ninja"--"you just like to cosplay in a costume with weapons that became obsolete with the invention of the gun!"
So you are correct that for modern martial arts, people primarily train for unarmed
combat since that is the situation. "Armed" means someone with a gun, frankly. Training with weapons may give you a "leg-up" on some idiot who picks up a stick in an alley, but, again, unless you live train, what are you doing? And, no, you cannot walk about with sais, bos, or katana
When looking at the techniques of karate
styles with regards to weapons used "during the time" you see defenses against clubs, short knives, and stuff like that. Erase beliefs about "defense against sword!" of which I have a hilarious story which I will not tangent into.
A lot of the techniques are attacks--forget the Japanese-Wannabe Funakoshi. "Defense" against a knife is attacking the fuck out of the guy immediately.
What if he already has the knife out and is standing a few feet away?
See the problem?
With all things, against an untrained
idiot, sure, it is a help. You may win. Go against a military guy who trains with knives all of the time?
One last anecdote: I met an ex-sniper from the Army. Built like the literal brick-shit-house. We discussed martial arts. I raised some questions: toe-to-toe with about a hundred pounds on me, I would be a fool to try to grapple him. If I were an expert in ground fighting, I might get him assuming he had no idea. This was not the case. I would rather keep away from him assuming I could not simply run "and pick up a rock and smash you in the head!"
So I asked him, "if you had a knife, would you pull it against me?"
"If you had a side arm and we are at a distance, would you use that?"